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Full text of "A history of Persia"

GHAZAN KHAN                     191
same Turks, whose rise dates from this period, were
destined to capture Byzantium and to hold in subjection
provinces of Europe.
With the Western states of Europe Ghazan maintained
the friendly relations which he had inherited, and letters
similar in tenor to those already mentioned are preserved
in the archives of various powers. The fact that Egypt,
the representative Moslem power, was his chief enemy,
strengthened the belief that at heart he was a Christian,
or, at any rate, had Christian sympathies. During his
reign Edward I. of England accredited Geoffrey de
Langley, who was accompanied by two esquires, to the
Persian Court. The original roll of their itinerary is
extant,1 and also an account of their expenditure, which
included purchases of silver plate, fur pelisses, and carpets.
They travelled by way of Genoa to Trebizond and Tabriz,
and returned home with a leopard in a cage- No other
account of their mission has been preserved.
His Reforms.—When 'Ghazan Khan came to the
throne, he found the revenue .so corruptly administered
that practically nothing reached the central government,
with the result that he was unable to give pay, much less
presents, to his army. At the same time the peasantry
were so ground down by illegal and semi-illegal exactions
that they were deserting their villages, and whenever an
official appeared they took refuge in underground hiding-
places. To remove this fundamental abuse a survey of
all property was instituted, and on this a new system of
taxation was based, each village paying its taxes in two
instalments and knowing exactly what the amount was.
All assignations on revenue—a cause of endless corrup-
tion—and all other irregular taxes or tolls were forbidden
on pain of death, and in order to prevent the tax-collectors
from deceiving the peasantry each village was obliged to
post a copy of the order, with details of its taxes, outside
the mosque. Another abuse was that all government
officials and other great personages not only used the
government post-horses but preyed on the country,
quartering themselves and their large suites in the towns
1 Archaeological Journal, vol. viii. pp. 49-50.